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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

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THE

According to this authority the area has been diminished hy one half ; as
Bar is in the Aligarh district, Sona, famous for its hot sulphur springs, is in
Gur-ganw ; while the * Sorasenka ganw' is supposed to be Batesar,* a place of
some note on the Jamuni and the scene of a large horse fair held on the full
moon of Kartik. It might equally mean any town in the kingdom of Mathora*,
or even the capital itself, as King Ugrasen, whom Krishna restored to the
throne, is sometimes styled Siirasen. Thus, too, Arrian mentions Mathur& as
a chief town of the Siiraseni, a people specially devoted to the worship of Her-
cules, who may be identified with Balarama : and Mann (II., 19) clearly in-
tends Mathura by Siirasenaf when he includes that country with Kuru-kshetra,
Panchala and Matsya, in the region of Brahmarshi, as distinguished from
Brahmavarta. But though it must be admitted that the circle is sometimes
drawn with a wider circumference, as will be seen in the sequel to this chapter,
still it is not certain which of the two rests upon the better authority. In any
case, the lines above quoted cannot be of great antiquity, seeing tlrat they con-
tain the Persian word hadd ;t and, as regards the unequal distances between
the city of Mathura and different points on the circumference, it has only to
be remembered that the circle is an ideal one, and any point within its outer
verge may be roughly regarded as its centre.

As the anniversary of Krishna's birth is kept in the month of Bhadon, it is
then that the perambulation takes place, and a series of melas is held at the dif-
ferent woods, where the rds-lild is celebrated. This is an unwritten religious
drama, which represents the most popular incidents in the life of Krishna, and

thus corresponds very closely with the miracle plays of mediaeval Christendom.
The arrangement of the performances forms the recognized occupation of a
class of Brahmans residing chiefly in the villages of Karahla and Pisaya who
are called BasdMris and have no other profession or means of livelihood. The
complete series of representations extends over a month or more, each scene

* Father Tieffenthaler, in his Geography of India, makes the following meatioa of Batesar : —
"Lien eelebre et bien hati EOT le Djemna, 28 millee d'Agra, Une multitude de people s*y
^assemble pour se laver dans ce flenre et pour celSbrer une foire em Octobre. On rend an culte

icl dans beancoup de temples batis sor ie Djeoma, a Mahadeo tant rev£r£ de tout Punivew
adonne a la Inxure; car Mahadeo est le Priape des aaciens qn'enceasent, ah quelle ho&tel toutea
3es nations."

i: n

t It ie however possible, though I think improbable, that kad may here stand for the Sanskrit
hrada^ a lake.